tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC March 25, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
confirmed death toll. if those eight additional bodies are are ecovered and confirmed as dead, that would bring the total number of deaths in this terrible mud slide to 24. the confirmed total 16, expected to raise to 24. the mud slide happened saturday morning about 55 miles north of seattle. as we learn more, we will let you know more. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. mitt romney showed up at president obama's press conference today. in spirit anyway. >> sticks and stones can break your bones. >> the president's nooaivete wi regards to russia has led to a number of foreign policy challenges. >> do you think mitt romney had a point? >> with respect to mr. romney's
assertion, russia's actions are a problem. >> naivete with regards to russia. >> nooif about the seriousness of russia's intentions. >> they don't pose the number one threat to the united states. >> they are a geopolitical adversa adversary. >> all eyes are on vladimir putin and russia. >> the united states and its allies effectively kicked russia out of the g-8. >> russia is more isolated than it's ever been. >> russia is a regional power. >> hitting vladimir putin by calling russia a regional power. >> right. >> this is part of the putin bravado and ego. >> a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors. not out of strength, but out of weakness.
>> president obama discovered the romney campaign is alive and well, at least in the hearts of some white house correspondents. >> do you think mitt romney had a point when he said that russia is america's biggest geopolitical foe? >> with respect to mr. romney's assertion that russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that america has got a whole lot of challenges. russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness. >> the fact that russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bear these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more. >> russia's actions are a problem.
the united states showing its continued international leadership has organized a forum over the last several years that's been able to help eliminate that threat in a consistent way. >> and of course, the president was asked that question that american presidents are always asked by white house correspondents who sometimes like to pretend that the president of the united states is the king of the world. whenever another head of state makes a choice that the american president doesn't like, that president is always asked if america's influence in the world, that president's in the world is on the decline. >> in china, in syria, in egypt
and now in russia, we' seen you make strong statements, issue warnings that have been ignored. are you concerned that america's influence in the world, your influence in the world is on the decline? >> well, jonathan, i think if the premise of the question is that whenever the united states objects to an action and other countries don't immediately do exactly what we want that that's been the norm, that would pretty much erase most of 20th century history. >> yes. presidents of both parties in the 20th and 21st centuries have sometimes failed to bend other countries to their will. nothing remarkable about that. unless you think the president of the united states is the king of the world. the president had more to say about this. >> i think that there's a distinction between us being very clear about what we think
is an appropriate action, what we stand for, what principles we believe in versus what is, i guess, implied in the question, that we should engage in some sort of military action to prevent something. the truth of the matter is the world has always been messy. and what the united states has consistently been able to do, and we continue to be able to do is to mobilize the international community around a set of principles and norms and where our own self-defense may not be involved, we may not act militarily. that does not mean that we don't steadily push against those forces that would violate those principles and ideals that we care about opinion yes, you're right.
syria's civil war is not solved. and yet syria has never been more isolated. with respect to the situation with ukraine, we have not gone to war with russia. i think there's a significant precedent to that in the past.. >> yeah, i guess there was a significant precedent for the president of the united states deciding not to go to war with russia. now, i don't have time to mention all of the presidents who have decided against going to war with russia, but here's a snapshot of them beginning with republican dwight eisenhower in to the cold war. oh, and while they were at it, every russian leader and soviet leader decided not to go to war with the united states. so vladimir putin knew that the united states was not going to go to war with him if he invieded crimea, no matter who was president of the united states. so what was to prevent vladimir putin from invading crimea? what military was going to stand in his way?
the ukrainian military. and so it was going to be even easier than ronald reagan's invasion of granada, no matter who was president of the united states. and everyone knew that, except apparently some members of the white house press corps who continue to believe that the president is of the united states is responsible for every bad thing that happens in the world. >> the point is that there are always going to be bad things that happen around the world. and the united states is the most powerful nation in the world, understandably is looked to for solutions to those problems. >> there are going to be moments where military action is appropriate. there are going to be sometimes where that's not in the interests -- national security interests of the united states or some of our partners, but that doesn't mean that we're not going to continue to make the effort or speak clearly about what we think is right and wrong, and that's what we've
done. >> joining me now eugene robinson, msnbc political analyst and charles cupchak, a senior fellow on the council of foreign relations. he was the director for european affairs on president clinton's national security council. gene robinson, the romney campaign lives. >> yeah, yeah. it's finally getting some traction. it's finally, you know, they're going to catch up one of these days. maybe by the time president obama leaves office. but you know, when i was coming into the studio this evening, i bumped my head on the light and it hurts. so i'm blaming the president because clearly his influence is waning. it doesn't extend to nebraska avenue in washington. >> and charles, there is a long list of soviet actions, russian actions over the objections of american presidents, including george w. bush to go back most
recently, and there were no -- the people who were saying today that president obama simply wasn't tough enough to prevent this from happening did not say that george w. bush was not tough enough to prevent something similar from happening in georgia. >> that's right. i mean, i think romney was wrong when he said russia is the number one foe. and he's wrong as he suggested today, that doesn't minimize the gravity of what's happened. russia broke the rule whence it went into crimea, it tore away that chunk of land from a sovereign state. and for now it's still a small war, but we know from history that small wars can turn into big wars. but the bottom line is we need to keep our heads screwed on tight. this is not a direct threat to american national security. russia is about 1/5 the strength it was when it was the soviet union. there are only three countries have backed what russia did, afghanistan, syria and venezuela. not very impressive. so we need to keep this in the
right frame, and possibly if putin stops here, we can condemn it, we can sanction it, but we may be able to have a working relationship with russia on issues that are at least as important as crimea, including iran, afghanistan, and syria. >> well, today we sent up one american astronaut with two russian astronauts. and so we're still cooperating on some things. you know, i want to be fair to mitt romney about this whole situation that he's been drawn into today and that he's voluntarily stepped into by going on tv and talking about it. let's go back and listen to how mitt romney made this point the first time he was asked about it and we know how the democrats and the president exploited it in the campaign. but let's listen to what romney said when he first raised this in the campaign. >> this is without question our number one geopolitical foe. >> you think russia is a bigger foe than iran or china or north korea? >> in terms of a geopolitical
opponent, the nation that lines up with the world's worst act forps of course the greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear iran and nuclear north korea is already troubling enough. but when these terrible actors already pursue their course in the world and we go to the united nations looking for ways to stop them, who is it who always sdands up for the world's worst actors? it is always russia typically with china alongside. >> when wolf blitzer pushed him for the clarification, i think he went ton make a pretty good point and a pretty good case for what he was trying to say about russia. >> right. and so he maybe should have said it more clearly to begin with, but yeah, he makes the case that russia has made a habit of, you know, being the protector of states like venezuela and cuba and, you know, the countries basically that are doing things that the western alliance opposes and often things in
violation of international law and violation of human rights. and russia steps up to veto the resolutions fairly regularly. it is clear. but, you know, take a step back. president obama said russia is a regional power. while it's much shrunken from what it was in soviet times, i would argue that russia is more than a regional power. and in fact, i would argue that one of the reasons russia is so prickly right now is that people keep calling it a regional power. and putin doesn't like that and i think a lot of russians don't like that. >> well, i think you might be able to define a regional power by what is your capacity to invade? is it only your neighbors. would we be taken seriously if the only place we could invade was nova scotia? >> but to go to romney's point there, which is, i think, a serious point. the president pivots off of that. and did during the campaign, i
think, successfully make romney's ideas sound old fashioned. because what he was reminding people of was look, the number one actual real threat to this country is the threat that brought down the world trade center. that is the 21st century threat. and that is what keeps this president awake at night. >> that's right. and, you know, i think a lot of the critics out there call obama's behavior weakness. i think it's prudence. and it's getting the priorities right. and we don't know where putin is headed, right? he has said i'm going to defend russians wherever they are. that could be in lithuania. if that happens. then we really are back in something that looks like the cold war. but we're really far away from that now. and until that kind of thing happens, you've got to look at the situation with terrorism. we've got to look at what's going on in syria. china in many respects looms on the horizons as a much, much greater geopolitical threat than does russia.
i think obama is actually behaving impressively restrained, not wanting to bang the war drums. not going out there and using sabre rattling at a time when what we need now is tough and resolute diplomacy. i think that's what we're seeing. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, the vegas billionaire who bank rolled loser newt gingrich and then loser mitt romney would like y trying to win an election for a change. he will be auditioning potential presidential candidates in vegas. and a decision in the supreme court over contraceptive coverage in the affordable care act. and tonight's big question is -- and i don't normally do sports questions, but tonight is the night. should ncaa college athletes be paid for bringing hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue into their universities? the answer, my answer is in
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there is hope for a better future relationship with russia. two russian cosmonauts and an american astronaut blasted off from kazakhstan tonight for a six-month stay on the international space station. american astronaut reid weissman told reporter, we're three really good friends, climb into a soyuz capsule to fly into space. all politics aside, there's no doubt it's going to work for us. up next, billionaire sheldon edleson doesn't want to waste any more of his cash on republican losers. with my friends, we'll do almost anything.
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>> i don't cry when i lose. there's always a new hand coming up. no, that wasn't john wayne in some western. those were the words of political gambler sheldon adelson who vowed in 2012 to continue to play the money game in future elections. adelson and his wife miriam were the biggest individual donors of 2012 and the biggest losers. pouring in more than $92 million to back mostly losing republican candidates like these. >> she says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage.
would you like to take some time to respond to that? >> no. but i will. . >> congress knee mack did not cast a vote for the budget proposal. >> let's give a welcome to macaca here. welcome to america and the real world of virginia. >> the most reasonable candidate that adelson backed was this loser who got 47% of the vote. >> 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 47% are with him who believe that they are victims, who believe that the government has a responsibility to care for them. who believe they're entitled to health care, you name it. >> adelson doesn't want to back
the crazies anymore. he wants to pick a winner for a change. the new strategy seems to favor 2016 hopefuls like jeb bush, chris christie, wisconsin governor scott walker, john kasich all of whom are reportedly scheduled to have one-on-one chats, auditioned, if you will, with adelson this week during the spring meeting of the republican jewish coalition, which is being held at adelson's venitian hotel in vegas. he doesn't want a crazy extremist to be the nominee. he wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions, but is not totally crazy. joining me now is washington post political reporter ni nia malika henderson. the adelson campaign bumper sticker -- not totally crazy. that's where he wants to go this
time. >> those are the words of his aides. that's like you putting those words in his mouth. listen, adelson is someone who has buyer's remorse from 2012. and a lot of republican donors were experiencing the same thing after they poured millions and millions of dollars into that campaign. it didn't really work for them. and there was something like a 2% return with some of these super pacs. now he's trying to be more pragmatic. a parade of moderate candidates out there. he certainly likes this attention and in some ways this is like they're going to have to go in and kiss the ring of adelson in many ways and figure out if they can cozy up to him and get some of his misdemeanors of doll -- millions of dollars in the run-up to the campaign when and if they declare. >> they're calling this the sheldon primary. because so much money is at stake in getting his backing. and adelson's friend told "the washington post" he is concerned about the impact the george
washington bridge traffic scandal in new jersey has on christie's political image. he also said adelson admires bush and believes that he has the unique potential to do what romney could not -- win over a large number of nonwhite voters. bush's wife speaks fluent spanish. jeb bush, because he's bilingual, because of his wife, he has a better chance to reach out and get more access to the minorities. that's the thinking in adelson world. >> that is the thinking. and listen, this is a world apart from where they were in 2012. backing newt gingrich. obviously a losing candidate. they backed him and really prolonged the primary in 2012 and damaged mitt romney going into the general. but this very sort of being tent approach to 2016 where they think somebody like jeb bush could attract more minorities, this is in line with the sort of party line of republicans as well. you think about that autopsy that they released after 2012. this is their thinking as well.
apparently huckaby has also come up as sheldon adelson might like also. he's said to be looking at a potential campaign. but we'll have to see. there's a whole parade of these folks who are going to be out there from thursday to sunday. i think dick cheney is also on the lean-up to speak. cory gardner is going to be out there as well. this is going to be a really motley crew of republicans out there. adelson to name a favorite. we'll see how quickly he will do that and whether or not this will mean anything for other republican donors. >> john rolston in adelson's home state. he's the host of "the rolston reports." john, something tells me that shelly adelson wants something from government that he believes a president of the united states might be able to help him get. >> what a cynical view that is, indeed. i bet he wants a lot of things,
like most billionaires do. one is to payless money. with sheldon adelson, though, there's a couple of things always on his mind pl always isra israel. and of course, his latest crusade is to stop online gaming from interfering with his business and creating what he calls a moral hazard, which has drawn a lot of criticism from people who figure what's gong on in your casinos. so he certainly does want something from government. i learned today that almost every single one of those supply cants you just mentioned are coming to kiss his ring. but if they think he's going to listen to them, it's going to be the other way around. >> tell me how that goes, john. you' been around adelson. what is it like when these guys have to meet with him? >> well, he'll say i'll have coffee with you for 15 minutes and essentially he's going to lecture them, i would guess, for about an hour. and there will be a lot of head nodding and maybe a ring kissing or two in there. but he has very, very strong
views. you know, he didn't like mitt romney. he thought mitt romney was too wishy washy. i think these guys know that. but he has not made a choice on who his favorite is. he doesn't know these guys as well as he knew some of the folks, especially newt gingrich as you know. i do think that he is going to be predisposed to someone outside of washington, to a governor as opposed to a senator or a congressman. >> john rolston, ni nia malik-henderson. thank you. coming up, the argument about contraception in the supreme court today. and later, the rest of the show is going to be sports night. paying college athletes, that's the big question that i will answer in the rewrite. and then also, the nfl team in washington, d.c. made an announcement about its name. ups is a global company, but most of our employees live in the same communities that we serve. people here know that our operations have an impact locally.
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if you don't want this for your family, it's totally find and i would defend your right never to have to use birth control, but why would you put that on every other woman? and then where do you stop? what's the next moral objection? do they then object to vaccinations? where do you take it from here? >> in the spotlight tonight, corporations get religion. you just heard california senator barbara boxer ask the question that supreme court justice sonia sotomayor asked
today about the right to deny coverage under the affordable care act. during the 90 minutes of oral arguments, the nine justices were not surprisingly divided along what seemed like ideological lines. with the three women on the bench dominating the opening minutes of the oral arguments. justice sotomayor asked, if the company's claims were, quote, limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives or does it include blood transfusions, vaccines for some religions, products made of pork. is any claim under your theory that has a religious basis, could an employer preclude the use of those items as well? >> much of the hobby lobby's arguments centered on the 1993 freedom restoration act which was initially intended to protect an individual's
religious rights and whether that law now extends to for-profit corporations. camera-hungry ted cruz rushed over to the steps of the supreme court today to tell the world with absolute certainty how the court will rule on this case. >> i'm going to make a prediction right now. i predict that the united states supreme court is going to strike down the contraception mandate because they're going to say the federal government does not have the authority to fort force people to violate their faith particularly when they're granting exemptions to every other powerful interest. >> joining me now cecilia richards. what is your sense after having listened to the arguments? >> well, first, of course, the most incredible thing toud today was to see the power of these
three women on the supreme court. it was different than any kind of hearing i've ever witnessed before. and as you said, justice sotomayor came out swinging from the very first comment. and they really dominated this conversation. the wonderful thing was having women on the court actually represent the interests of women. and that was, i think, what was so stark was the fact that they were actually talking about, what is the harm here for the thousands of women who are going to be affected, potentially millions of women who were going affected and that ran throughout the proceedings. >> let's just imagine for a moment, that court today without those women on it. and whenever people are wondering what they're voting for for president, those women are on that court because a democratic president, bill clinton put ruth bader ginsberg there and the democratic president barack obama put the other two women on that court. cecile, the women see this issue differently. we have a poll that shows that
53% of all adults say that the companies should not be exempt. among women voter, 68% of women as opposed to 53% of the entire. 6% of women believe these companies should not be exempt. and so to not have women's views represented on that court today just would have been egregious. >> absolutely, lawrence. and i think that's precisely right. i mean, the interesting thing is the lawyer for hobby lobby opened up by saying that birth control is a very, you know, controversial issue. well, it isn't for women. 99% of women in this country use birth control at some point in their lifetime. and as your poll shows, women actually believe that this is a benefit that they're entitled to, that it's related to their health, their well being, their ability to plan their families, their ability to finish their education, and to work in the work force. >> there is some stunning
precedence from justice scalia in a 1990 case. when i read it, i just don't see how he can possibly flip his previous position to rule in favor of the companies here. you're aware of this, but i want the audience to hear what he said in a 1990 case centered on the religious use of peyote. he wrote, it may fairly be said that leaving accommodations to the political process will place at a relative disadvantage those religious practices that are not widely engaged in. but that unavoid consequence of democratic government must be preferred to a system in which each conscious is a law unto itself. or in which judges weigh the social importance of allahs against the centrality of religious beliefs. cecile, it's hard to see how the author of that opinion in 1990 could go the other way on this case. >> i agree, lawrence.
and i think the other thing that was sort of stunning and frankly justice scalia was the one who said it, was the ignorance of, and apparently lack of compassion or interest in what it would mean for women to not have access to birth control. he really referred to it as a very minor inconvenience, something that didn't cost much. look, we're talking about women who are working hourly wages for a huge fortune 500 company. and who contribute to their health care package. and the fact that these are women who would lose access to a benefit that all other women in this country have. it seemed to me that the lack of interest by many of the justices on actually what the impact was on women, including justice scalia was pretty stunning in the 21st century. >> the territory that's being fought over here is actually smaller than it might sound like. there are 20 possible contraceptive methods covered by
the affordable care act. and this company is actually willing to pay for 16 of those. there are only four of them that they consider to be abortive in some way. so they believe that moves them out of contraception into the territory of abortion, but they're actually willing to cover 16 other methods of contraception. >> but, you know, yes, that's correct. although the important thing about -- this was actually one of the questions that was posed. actually the position of the hobby lobby attorney was that, in fact, under what they were arguing, an employer could refuse to cover any cont contraception whatsoever. so may have drawn it narrowly, but the argument they're making is that any employer should be able to object for whatever reason to covering any form of contraception. that's going to affect potentially millions of women in this country. >> what they're actually asking for is such a narrow ruling that
there wouldn't really be a principle behind it. they have to broaden it out to say yes, this applies to all contraception if some other company wants to do that. i'm not as sure as ted cruz is about the outcome of this one. >> that's right. >> thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> good to see you, lawrence. >> thank you. >> coming up, the washington, d.c. professional football team makes a very big announcement about the name of the team. and in that announcement, they avoid using the name of the team as much as possible. that's coming up. llent. how we looking here, charlie? all sectors are t. llent. hey, what are you guys doing?
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>> march madness is here and there is a big debate in college sport now. should athletes be paid? a new poll out suggests 64% of the public opposes paying players with only 33% in favor. in nigtonight's rewrite, i chan my mind. or maybe it's more like i make up my mind. i don't think i spent more than five minutes thinking about whether college athletes should be paid. i never had a strong opinion on this subject until sunday morning two former college athletes outlined positions that made a lot of sense. the question before them was in a world where college coaches are making $5 million a year and some of the big teams are making
well over $100 million in profit for their universities, shouldn't players be getting a piece of that action? the guy on "meet the press" representing the ncaa of course said absolutely not. and arnie duncan, the secretary of education who played basketball for harvard agreed that athletes should not be paid, as did reggie love, former assistant to president obama who played basketball and football at duke. but then reggie love rnie duncan suggested a compensation package for college athletes that's even better than money. >> there are additional things that could be done to give kids an additional opportunity to -- >> like what. make the case. what would you see? >> i think an education trust. i just got out of graduate school, right? i think that graduate school cost me almost $200,000. i think every student athlete who plays for a university should be able to go to that university, assuming they can do
the work, they should be able to be educated, graduate school. >> i think that's really important. people talk about helping them graduate from college, but mba, masters, pho masters, ph.d. i think that's worth considering. >> i had never considered it until i heard that on "meet the press. paying college athletes is a bad idea. you would never be able to arrive at a fair amount to pay each player who plays for a profit team. and those paychecks would separate the athletes in college even more from the college experience that the rest of the students are having. but stretching it to graduate school is a perfect way to allow them to share in the massive wealth. not all college athletes are equal as economic assets.
reggie love was a lot more valuable to duke then a arnie duncan was to harvard. just as an economic asset, i mean, arnie duncan produced exactly zero profit for harvard university. he played on a basketball team that like all harvard teams is at best a break even proposition last year. nicely covered the team's expenses of 1 $1.4 million. in the one year i was an ncaa athlete at that same college as arnie duncan, i'm not sure our baseball team produced any revenue. i don't think i remember them selling tickets back then. i think people wandered in and watched.
but reggie played millions of profit and a fastball team that made even more in profit for duke university. duke's basketball team hauled in about $26 million in revenue. the accounting system indicates the basketball team had more than $15 million in expenses, which means that duke basketball team delivered nearly $10 million in profit to the university 13 players delivered nearly $10 million. they do that every year. if that sounds like a lot, it is nothing compared to the ut football team. the university of texas football team took in $109 million in revenue, which gave the university a profit of about $82 million.
if you play for a college team that produces in profit for your college, then you get to bask in the glory of being a college athlete. that's it. that's your compensation. the sports teams who produce no profit are usually as institutions nothing known for things other than sports. you close down the harvard football team tomorrow and most students would never notice. you close down the notre dame football team, cloesz down university of michigan football team, the crimson tide of alabama and you have robbed those institutions of a significant portion of their identity. so if you play for a college team that produces $5 million or more in profit for the university, that university should guarantee you not just full college scholarship but a full scholarship in all of its gradual programs. if you want to go to law school
err your university doesn't have a law school, your university should make a cooperative arrangement with a law school so you can get your law degree for free. business school, law school and medical school and you played football for the university of texas, you should be able to do ul of all of that on the ut campus at ut expense. most college athletes aren't going to profit from this deal, because like most other college students, they won't go to graduate school. and there's a tiny slice of college athletes who won't need this help because they're going to become professional athletes and make pretty good money before they start auditioning for jobs at espn. the most valuable baylors, economically, the most valuable laborers are not professors. they are the $5 million coaches.
they are the players down there on the football field. they are the basketball players who are leading their schools into this thing we call march madness. and it is madness. not tooive to treat them more fairly. they are producing more revenue per player for their colleges than anyone who is paying full tuition. they are producing more revenue than most of the biggest charitable contributors to those universities. and they deserve more than just fleeting glory. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. [ m'm... ] great taste. [ tapping ] sounds good. campbell's healthy request. m'm! m'm! good.®
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a letter was releaseds today. snyder said the more i heard the more i learned, the more i solved, the more resolved i became about helping address the challenges that plague the native american community. and speaking face to face with american native leaders and community members, it's plain to see they need action not words. dan snyder and the washington nfl team created the original american the foundation with a mission to, quote, provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for tribal communities. joining me now in an exclusive interview, the representative for the onida indian nation and ceo of onida enterprises. what is your reaction to what dan snyder has hannounced. >> well, after owning the team for 15 years and now showing an interest in american indian
issues, that's a good thing. and if he's able to provide some help, that is good. however, the issue of the team's name is dix naix defined racial epithet. you can't honor people by simply throwing money at an issue. >> let me take this opportunity to prove to dan snyder that it's a racial epithet. and that's his own statement. he refuses to use the name in the statement. the more i learned the more i resolved to help address the challenges that plague the native american community. he did not say the challenges that plague the native american community. he did not say the redskin community. >> he's profiting millions and millions of dollars in this team
and marketing this to america and the world. >> let's take a look at anned a from the national congress of american indians. >> will rodgers, geronimo, unyielding, strong, indomitable. native americans call themselves many things. the one thing they don't. >> ray, it's a very powerful ad. it turns out the washington team has now gotten a native american executive direct for of their new foundation to say that name is perfectly okay and native american communities have been using it as a term of honor for a long time. >> well, i seriously doubt that